From Christmas Eve to Wednesday, 2 January, over 160 Network Rail engineers worked to upgrade the southern end of the route. Work took place to upgrade the track layout in Northamptonshire by installing ten new switches and crossings, the specialist piece of equipment which allows trains to move from one piece of railway to another, just north of Wellingborough station.
This work was a major part of the construction of an additional line between Bedford and Kettering as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade and will create the capability for six trains to London St Pancras per hour, up from the current five by the end of 2020. Network Rail has released time-lapse footage showing the project taking place.
Major work to renew and replace the concrete slab which supports the track in Kentish Town also took place. Almost 50 metres of deteriorating concrete slab were removed and over 80 metres of new track bed with improved drainage was installed during 14,000 hours of work, which will create a more reliable railway for passengers.
Both pieces of work meant changes to train services for passengers using the route over the festive period. Network Rail worked closely with East Midlands Trains and Govia Thameslink Railway to keep passengers moving and disruption to a minimum. All train services are now back up and running.
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “These projects are planned meticulously and take place over the festive period as this is when fewer people travel. We are delighted that they are now complete and passengers will begin reaping the benefits.
“The work at Wellingborough is part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade and makes it possible to run more train services by the end of 2020. At Kentish Town, the project means we can continue to keep trains running reliably and safely for years to come.
“We’d like to thank passengers for their patience whilst this vital work took place. Projects like these mean we can continue to provide a service which meets the needs of the communities and economies our railway serves.”
Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “We’re pleased to have worked with Network Rail to successfully complete these large scale pieces of work which are part of the major investment being made to improve the Midland Main Line route.
“We’d also like to take the opportunity to say thank you to our customers for bearing with us whilst these works have been taking place.”
Steve White, Chief Operating Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “Investment in works such as these, modernising the railway to improve capacity and reliability, is vitally important for our passengers and I would like to thank them for their patience.”